Can You Stop The Ageing Process By Popping a Few Pills?

The cosmetic industry has recently become inundated by beauty supplements in pill form, which are packed with nourishing ingredients said to work from the inside out, but are they the better alternative to your anti-ageing moisturiser? The ageing process is internal just as much as it is external – if not more – so can delaying the hidden signs of ageing help to improve the signs that are more visible?

According to Dr Daniel Sister, a French cosmetic doctor and anti-ageing specialist who has developed Youth, a food supplement, ‘Face creams don’t work as they don’t penetrate deep enough to ­generate a real physiological change.’ His supplements involve a combination of amino acids and marine plant extracts, which repair your skin cells, reduce the damage done by free radicals and enhance the production of growth hormones that naturally decrease as you age.

‘Your skin is a reflection of what’s happening on the inside, so a healthy diet is important,’ Dr Sister comments. ‘As we age, the body is less effective at extracting key nutrients from what we eat. If you add to that the fact that food quality may be low, and our need for a large quantity of amino acids from proteins for optimum skin care, here’s where supplements can help with their high concentrations of key ingredients.’

Lamiss El Hannach, in-house nutritionist at London pharmacy John Bell & Croyden, adds, ‘We can’t get enough vitamins and minerals from food because what we consume on a daily basis is highly processed and most skin health vitamins (A, C, and E) are sensitive to light, heat or chemicals. Therefore, any skin problem can be ­corrected by supplementing with vitamins A, C and E and essential minerals, which nourish the deeper layers from the inside.’

However, Bridget Benelam, nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, argues, ‘If you consume a varied and balanced diet with oily fish, whole grains and ­brightly coloured vegetables, this can provide you with essential vitamins and minerals, ­those needed for healthy skin. A supplement can never recreate this complex mixture of nutrients and natural compounds.’ She adds, ‘Some vitamins and minerals can be toxic in excess. Combining a multivitamin tablet and a fish oil capsule, for example, could give you too much vitamin A, so always check the label or ask a pharmacist.’

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